Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Yeah, but it's a warm 20-mph wind

At least it was today. But the calendar tells me it's October--how many warm winds do we have left this year?

The morning ride to McConnell was a bit chilly, but the air was dead-calm. As the sun began to warm the air, it was actually quite pleasant for the last couple of miles. This afternoon, though, was another story entirely: a steady 20-mph northerly wind that, given my route, I had to ride directly into for a total of about half the ride. Even with shifting into an easier gear that I'd never felt the need to use before, the ride home took about an hour. (Usually, it's 45 minutes, though I've been known to make it in 40 if traffic permits.)

I've been home almost 3 hours and my legs still feel tired from the ride home.

Aside from the usual and obvious lack of bike-friendly streets here in Wichita, another possible explanation for our city's abysmally-low percentage of folks who commute to work occurred to me on the ride home today. Perhaps folks have given bike-commuting a try in the past but--as will happen sooner or later here--end up riding on a day when the wind is blowing hard and steady and they get home and wheel the bike into the garage and decide they've had enough. That is of course their choice, but I would say to them, were they to ask, that that decision comes of not fully dissociating from recreation their image of cycling. If they instead framed their riding in terms of transportation, the wind doesn't blow any less hard, but I suspect they would persist: cycling-as-transportation shifts one's focus to concentrate more on the long term than on the short term.

Usually, it so happens that my commute is fun, or at least enjoyable. On some days, though, it is work to keep going--and by this I mean mental more than physical labor. This, for me, was one of those days. But, truth be told, I've not had very many of those days.

Oh: and in case anyone is thinking I'm just a wimp about this wind thing, have a look at Chris's recent post over at Random Chaos.


Russell Arben Fox said...

I've been dealing with the wind--warm winds and cold--for close to two years now, and I don't know if I'll ever really get used to it. My biggest complaint with it is that its direction always seems to switch on me: it's against me going southeast in the morning, and it's against me going northwest in the afternoon. I'd happily take 15 or 20 mph winds if I could just be sure that it'd be blowing with me at least one direction.

Bryan G said...

This is not always a real popular opinion of mine but I look at wind like I do the rest of life. Everybody likes to ride downhill and ride with a tailwind. Just like everyone wants life in general to go smooth and easy. However, riding downhill and with a tailwind does little if any to build any strength or endurance. It is the headwinds and the hill climbs that build our strength. Once again like every day life. It is the challenges in life that make us stronger people. I thank God for the uphill battles. I thank God for the headwinds.Just like, when I look back at my past life experiences, I thank God for the things in life that seemed impossible at the time but actually made me a stronger person.

John B. said...

Bryan, I'm sympathetic to your take on this. As Carl Perkins once said, "If there were no rocks, the stream would have no song." Truth be told, I also wish I had more endurance than I do; you hear a little frustration with myself in this post, too. I will admit, though, that since that ride, when wind has been a factor I've handled it much better mentally, if not physically. So, that certainly is a Good Thing.